QuakeCon Recap

August 14th, 2008 by Crusader

Welp, another QuakeCon is behind us, and the main items of interest came out of the annual id Software keynote; in particular, the audience question and answer session with id’s technical director John Carmack:

Question: What are your current views on the Linux situation […]?

Answer: I can’t say I have really high hopes for it. If Quake Live does well, Mac is our next target on that, but I would not be shocked if we wind up with a Linux target on there. It’s an under served community […] and I’m happy to see Quake Live there. It is unlikely that the big titles [Wolfenstein, Rage, Doom 4] will have anywhere near simultaneous releases. If one of the guys internally says I want to go port to Linux on my weekend or whatever, I’ll be supportive of that, but it’s not something we’re probably going to devote company resources to on there.

The bright spot for Linux on gaming might be Android, mobile space. There’s still no real sign that that’s going to take off, but if it does that could be a significant and useful thing. People wrote about the death of PC gaming, but PC has problems relative to the consoles, but all of those problems that the PC has are just an order of magnitude worse on the Linux space. So it’s not really a good target.

Every year or so somebody comes up with or plans some Linux-based set-top box that has gaming features, and it never really amounts to anything, and I don’t see any conditions that are going to be forcing that to change in the future. There are certainly aspects of it that I would like, there’s Linux on my flight computer, it’s a good tool for a lot of things. And it might make a useful tool, more so than being Linux, there’s nothing that I think Linux would bring to a console operating system, but there is something that open source would bring to it: those two days that I spent frustrated about my deadlock against Microsoft’s video codec on there I’m sure could’ve been solved much more rapidly if all of it was actually completely open. But there’s nothing that really bothers me about Microsoft or some of these operating system levels there; they’re done competently. Linux would probably bring more trouble than benefits to those things. If the world changed and there was a huge uptake of Linux on PC’s all over the place, it’d be nice, I wish the platform well, but it’s not even on our radar right now for our current projects.

Carmack also reiterated that the current plan is to open source Doom 3‘s engine sometime next year; and they will continue the practice unless something unusual happens, like id losing a patent troll’s lawsuit based on released code.

What we can’t do is we can’t take time away from [other projects]… it does take effort to get these things together. If we are still heads down trying to get Rage out the door, I’m not going to task somebody with putting together the Doom 3 source distribution. But when Rage ships, you can expect the Doom 3 source code to be coming out.

18 Responses to “QuakeCon Recap”

  1. dudeofthedead Says:

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if Rage is the last id game to have a Linux installer.

  2. paines Says:

    In the past when Linux was more of a “freak” OS Carmack was more enthusiatic about it than now.
    Now that Linux has grown up a little, he seems to has lost his faith in it.I don’t get it.

  3. nod51 Says:

    Well guess I won’t need to put any money aside to buy his future games then. I love this growing lack of commercial games for the PC (in general) opening up, means more creative independent games showing up.

  4. Crusader Says:

    Keep in mind that:

    a) this isn’t really a change in id’s stance – besides Quake 3: Arena, Linux ports have always been unofficial efforts that the company just does because they think it’s cool.
    b) They’re still open-sourcing the engines, which in its own way can be more important than same day binary ports.

  5. nod51 Says:

    Well they have to make money, if that means going to console or not porting to Linux then I understand. I know their last ports have been unofficial, but in the past, at least to me, it seemed he was more like “yes there will be an unofficial Linux port” not “If someone wants to do it, I will support them”. My previous statement simply mean that I don’t have Windows or consoles, so I have no need to buy games without a Linux binary. The following statement was in general, should have made it another paragraph.
    As for open sourcing the enging, I am glad to hear that has not changed, I may upgrade my computer (Ath64 2800+ with GF5900) to play games made off of the D3 engine.
    I am still looking forward to an unofficial Rage port, and I know I will need to upgrade my computer for that…

  6. gordallott Says:

    its so silly, if it only takes a weekend to port to linux then frankly your throwing money away, take that two days out, sell at least 20 extra games because of the port and voila you make your money back. if pc gaming is in such trouble it makes sense to widen your market, not piss it off.

  7. Lightkey Says:

    Crusader: You forgot “Quake: The Offering for Linux” and “Quake II: Colossus for Linux” (had to look over my shoulder to the shelf for the titles ;-)).

  8. Crusader Says:

    Hah – I have the Offering sitting on my shelf too; dunno why I forgot about that.

  9. daturan Says:

    maybe it’s my age but overall I’ve been very disappointed with most 3A titles for a long time now,, meanwhile the bar keeps getting raised by all the talented folks in the mod community,,, WOP, AssaultCube, Planeshift, LMS, etc,, the work crystal space is doing is very exciting.

  10. linux23dragon Says:

    The Mac is Unix based (built with the gcc?) and uses the same X server? And still uses QT graphics?

    If that is sill the case, then I would not be concerned about it.

    It will take very little effort to have any id games running on Linux. And I’m sure any ID developer would love to step in and make a Linux port. They will get all the credit, and make a name for them selfs.

    I would do it just to have that warm feeling. However, the ID developers that port the games to Linux would also be part of a bigger picture…. Sales profits. I would love to be responsible for the extra 20% of ID game sales. I would be able to stand up and say “I did it man” :)

  11. SlickMcRunfast Says:

    Maybe we can start a port trophy for Id employees. Like we can put our money together and build a trophy the size of a cow, or maybe even a cow trophy. Even better, a giant Penguin trophy for them. I would port a game for a giant Penguin trophy.

  12. ThoreauHD Says:

    Well, if he thinks linux users don’t buy his games, then I’ll be sure not to disappoint him.

  13. nomad Says:

    I believe that Id will not abandon Linux. I think Carmack is still more computer geek then just business guy and I think he will support Linux just because he can and because he knows what Id means for Linux.

    And to support Id I have bought Quake4 and Doom3 to be played on my Linux box even thought I am not a big FPS fan and my notebook is so so capable of playing it.

  14. dimko Says:

    I love 3d Shooters. I loved Quake 4, liked Doom3, am into ETQW. If ID will stop doing games for Linux, it most certainly will loose one very devoted fan and one very small independent and reliable source of money.

  15. M1AU Says:

    So far I’ve bought Quake 3, Quake 4, Doom 3 and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and planned to buy every single ID game which gets a Linux port. But so, if this situation change, those will probably be the last titles I bought :(

  16. pjmlp Says:

    I for one, would like to see the support for gaming in Linux to increase, but I have my doubts that it will ever happen.

    I do spend a lot of time on the game development communities, and even though many developers do like Linux, from the commercial point a view it is a nightmare to release games targeting Linux.

    I have sadly to agree with John. Game development is too dam expensive nowadays and supporting Linux doesn’t pay off, specially when many users also pirate the games.

  17. sinister13 Says:

    I have sadly to agree with John. Game development is too dam expensive nowadays and supporting Linux doesn’t pay off, specially when many users also pirate the games.

    If you’re talking about development of a GNU/Linux-only title, I’d rather agree with you. However, it would take only several spare days to port any OpenGL game into GNU/Linux systems, guaranteeing more selled copies.

  18. Conzar Says:

    But if your talking about developing your GFX in DirectDraw, then you’ve stabbed yourself in the toe. But its my thought that developing with an engine that is designed for multiple platforms (ie, OSX, GNU/Linux, Win32) is the way to go and thats why I’m using jMonkeyEngine (

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.